Saturday, April 28, 2012

Torpedoes and Flytraps

Stanly Rehder, a WWII Army veteran who's now in an assisted living home, has seen both in his life.

Folks may not know, though, that on Christmas Eve, 1944, Rehder helped save the lives of eight fellow GIs when a troop ship sank in the English Channel.

Rehder was 22, a graduate of New Hanover High School and a lieutenant with the 66th Division U.S. Army, when he boarded the Leopoldville, a Belgian liner converted to a troopship for World War II. He was napping as it made its way from Southampton, England, to Cherbourg, France, carrying more than 2,000 soldiers to join the Battle of the Bulge.

According to “Leopoldville: A Tragedy Too Long Secret” by Allan Andrade, the ship was only five miles from Cherbourg when it was struck by a torpedo fired by German U-boat 486.

In 1988, Rehder wrote an account of that night, titled “The Night Before Christmas.”

Click the link to read the rest.

Related gallery here.

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